THE news she has taken out top honours in the Meroogal Women’s Art Prize is still sinking in for Tomboye artist Linda Dening.
Her work ‘Hairbrush’ was named on Friday at Meroogal House in Nowra as the winner of the biannual art prize run by Sydney Living Museums.
Ms Dening said she was “stunned” to learn she had won.
“I wasn’t prepared for the announcement because I was not expecting to win,” she said.
With a few days to contemplate her success the artist said the award was a career highlight.
“There is a sense of achievement for sure,” she said
A product of tools, timber and inspiration, her work took just one weekend to complete.
Ms Dening said she finds Meroogal House to be an inspiring place.
“Meroogal’s intimacy and warmth permeates all aspects of the house,” she said.
“For me, this is particularly evident in its many objects.
“My response to Meroogal was to make an everyday object - a hairbrush.
“In this work I am exploring the way hair fascinates, repels and obsesses us.”
As well as the $6000 prize money, the artist received a prestigious artist-in-residency scholarship at Bundanon.
Ms Dening, who has exhibited widely, graduated from City Art Institute in the 80s.
She has worked as an artist in the Shoalhaven area for over 30 years and as an art teacher at Nowra TAFE for twelve years.
The prize invites female artists to create works in any medium that respond to Nowra’s historic Meroogal House, its history and collection of treasures.
The annual exhibition pays tribute to the four generations of women from the Thorburn and MacGregor families who lived at the property for almost 100 years.
The second prize was awarded to Vita Cochran from Sydney for Meroogal Sampler - a hand-embroidered wool on linen and third prize went to Lisa Maris McDonell from Wollongong for ‘Women’s Work’ - a video.
From a record 170 entries, 39 works from 41 artists were shortlisted.
Dr Caroline Butler-Bowdon from the Sydney Living Museums said the 2016 prize drew entries of a very high calibre with a diverse range of media represented.
These included photography, video, ceramics, paper, collage, textiles and assemblage.
“We are delighted that over half of the finalists are from the local region,” she said.
Highly Commended were Amaya Lang, Resonance, glazed ceramic, enamel, Judy Panucci, Time shroud, mixed media, drawing, writing, ink, gouache, stitching, collage and Kathleen Ciclovan, On the way to Meroogal, patchwork tapestry quilt.
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